Run time: 81 mins

A warm welcome back, after 73(!) years, to this delightful Ealing gem, written by TEB Clarke and directed by Charles Crichton.

Alec Guinness gives a pitch perfect performance as Henry Holland, the mousy, bespectacled bank clerk in bomb-damaged postwar London. His job is to accompany gold bullion in the special van with armed security guards and, with the help of his friend Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) figures out a way to pinch the gold and smuggle it out of the country into Paris smelted down into bogus lead paperweights in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

It’s tremendously good fun, though lighter in tone than Ealing’s two more unconventional masterpieces, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers. Holloway and Guinness’s chase down the staircase of the Eiffel Tower has a Hitchcockian quality. Alfie Bass and Sid James, playing the other criminals, are classic supporting turns; like Holloway, they are the kind of organic, garden-grown character actors that Britain doesn’t produce anymore. A before-she-was-famous cameo from Audrey Hepburn is a surreal frisson. A delightful classic which audiences flock back to time and time again.

Monday 27th May
07:30 pm